Thank you, on behalf of Del Boy
I’m not sure what to say. The messages from everyone about my dad Del Boy, sometimes known by his real name of Derek on the few occasions he wasn’t here were overwhelming.
I had planned to let you know about his passing anyway, but I was beaten to it. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m trying to ‘milk the applause’ but I really did plan to let you all know about what it meant to dad as an exile, to have a forum like this which enabled him to still feel part of something which he held so dear.
Earlier this week when it was clear to us that dad was going to die, his partner Christine and I were talking, and she made a comment that the house would be very quiet without the constant tapping of dad’s keyboard, and she asked me to post something funny about him, she said he’d like that. I can’t for the life of me think of anything funny, but I’d like to tell you a little bit about him. There’s no need for replies, you’ve all said such wonderful things already and Christine has seen what people think of him. Please believe me when I say it helps us all more than you can imagine.
Derek was born in Pallion in 1933. The son of a miner who in turn was the son of miner who in turn was the s…….. keep going until you’re bored. Dad also began his working life down the pit, but was determined to better himself and so pushed himself through nightschool, gaining qualifications in electrical engineering and later electronic engineering. His determination to succeed meant that my brother and I were the first males in our family who didn’t have to do that kind of work. He was proud of that, and I’m immensely proud of him for that too.
His career eventually (following the divorce from my mother) led to him moving to Newbury about 20ish years ago to take up a directorship in what was to become a successful electronics company. He missed ‘home’ terribly. He hated not being able to go to games, although he did go to away games when he could, with the occasional trip to Sunderland. His love for Sunderland football club remained undiminished, and I remember clearly him telling me about this place, a place he’d found on the internet where he could mix with fellow fans and feel at home.
In recent years dad’s health deteriorated quite badly, they discovered that he had a hole in his heart, and also peritonitis. This week he developed septicemia and cellulitus, leading to kidney failure. He’d always been a really active man, golf was his 2nd love after safc and he was made senior captain of his club. He never smoked, didn’t drink much, ate healthily and generally looked after himself. Despite this his recent health problems meant that he was pretty much unable to do very much at all, but his dream was to move closer to home so he could see his children more often, and actually regularly come to the SOL on matchday. He finally achieved that goal six weeks ago, and made it to one game against Sheff Utd. I feel like screaming that he only had one game. Life just isn’t fair sometimes, although he’d clip me round the ear for complaining.
This week while he was drifting away, my brother, two sisters, Christine and I, were obviously devastated. Each hour that brought his death closer broke our hearts a little more, but I was able to get through it because of a trick my wife told me. She told me to choose a moment where he was happy, put that image into my mind, and bloody well keep it there no matter what. Some of you may remember that he was a champion of Kevin Kyle. He liked the lad, loved his commitment and was desperate for him to succeed. My ‘happy picture’ is my dad’s reaction to Kyle’s goal against Sheffield. I turned to see dad on his feet (not easy for him although he beat me up there) with his fists raised in absolute triumph, his face shining with shear pleasure. I’m starting to break down a little bit typing this, but that image brings me back every time.
I’m so grateful for the kindness you’ve all shown, but the point of this is to thank you on behalf of Del Boy for giving him so much pleasure for the last three years. You all really made a difference to the quality of his life.